DCMA has recently updated their test metrics and are referring to them as the DCMA EVMS Compliance Metrics (DECM) instead of EVAS. See our blog, DCMA’s Data Driven EVMS Compliance Process.
Identifying the Impact of EVAS on Contractors
The topic of DCMA’s Earned Value Analysis System (EVAS) often comes up in discussions with our clients. A common concern is the EVAS metrics and data-driven analytics DCMA is currently using as part of their Earned Value Management System (EVMS) compliance and surveillance process. What is the impact of those metrics and analytics on how they are managing their projects?
A common misconception is they must be “compliant” with EVAS or buy a software tool that is “compliant” with EVAS. There is no such thing. Or, if they trip an EVAS metric threshold, DCMA will be coming in to do an on-site surveillance review or write a corrective action request (CAR). Not true.
The Reality of EVAS
EVAS isn’t that different from what DCMA has done in the past. Their approach has simply been updated to take advantage of changing technology. Some of the test metrics are automated, others are manual because they need to be. The EVAS test metrics and data analytics help DCMA to gauge the quality and traceability of the schedule and cost data. Quality data is a good indicator whether project personnel are paying attention and using the data to manage a project.
EVAS is meant to streamline how DCMA collects source schedule and cost data from contractors as part of the normal surveillance review data call. Using their standard set of test metrics, they perform their data analytics and record the results to assess the current state of a project. DCMA is not looking for perfection which is why the test metrics include thresholds. Thresholds assist DCMA in identifying higher risk process areas in a contractor’s EVMS so they can discuss what they are seeing with the contractor. The test metrics help to increase consistency in how EVM systems are evaluated regardless of the makeup of the DCMA review team personnel.
EVAS was intended to take advantage of the Integrated Program Management Report (IPMR) Data Item Description (DID) requirements to provide data electronically to the DoD EVM Central Repository (CR). The IPMR DID Revision B in development uses a JSON data encoding format instead of the UN/CEFACT XML for these data submittals (note: the Integrated Program Management Data and Analysis Report (IPMDAR) DID was published in March, 2020). The IPMR Revision B addresses two different needs. One is to support the EVM CR where the cost data is typically at the control account level or higher. The other is to support DCMA surveillance needs. DCMA wants the complete set of time phased cost data at the work package and element of cost level in addition to the detail schedule data. Until EVAS is able to accept the contractor data using the JSON encoding, DCMA works with the contractor to collect the necessary data from contractors’ in-house or commercial off the shelf (COTS) tools often using Excel spreadsheet exports so they can run their automated metrics.
What's the Impact of EVAS on Contractors?
What’s the impact of EVAS on contractors with EVMS contractual requirements? The message is still the same. Pay attention to the quality of your schedule and cost data as well as the process you follow to avoid disconnects and inconsistencies. It is always prudent to incorporate data quality checks into your self-surveillance activities or normal status and analysis cycle.
Verify the data content and artifacts your system produces using a standard set of data quality metrics – these can be a combination of your own, common industry, or DCMA’s EVAS metrics. Use what helps your project personnel take ownership of the data and use the data to manage the work.
Your software tools should enable your internal processes so project personnel can focus on getting their work done instead of “managing” the data. You also need to be prepared to support the changing methods the DoD and DCMA are using to collect data electronically.
Leverage Software Tools
That’s where the right software tools can make a difference so you can easily support customer reporting as well as DCMA surveillance activities. BOEMax cost estimate software and MaxTeam project cost management software were designed to support your internal process and electronic deliverable requirements. Workflow, data integration and traceability are built into the tools. This simplifies the process of creating and maintaining integrated schedule and cost data. You can also easily produce data-backed documentation for historical traceability. Following your internal processes, with our cost estimate and project cost management systems, you can:
- Automatically maintain a historical archive of basis of estimate (BOE), work authorization, and baseline change requests (BCR) moving through the workflow review and approval process. With data-backed documentation, the electronic forms always align with the source data. To illustrate, one of the EVAS metrics is to identify where the work authorization budget at completion (BAC) doesn’t match the BAC in the cost tool. ProjStream’s built in workflow functions prevent this type of disconnect. Another example of an EVAS metric is to count the number of BCRs without substantiation. This is another issue ProjStream’s tools prevent. You can model a change in BOEMax as the BCR’s source data with additional documentation explaining the reason for the change and impact to other activities. The actions to complete the review and approval process and then merging the change into MaxTeam exactly as approved is automatically documented. You can easily demonstrate historically traceability.
- Capture a complete set of basis of estimate (BOE) rationale documentation for your proposal and performance measurement baseline (PMB). You have the quantifiable backup data available to demonstrate how you developed your schedule and cost plan.
- Produce schedule driven time phased cost estimate or budget data that matches your resource loaded schedule activity start and finish dates. BOEMax and MaxTeam schedule integration utilities prevent the common disconnect where the time phased budget or estimate to complete data does not align with the schedule activities, another EVAS test metric.
- Use the schedule status as the basis for the earned value claimed in MaxTeam project cost management software. You can demonstrate work progress aligns with the work package earned value calculations. This prevents another issue EVAS checks for: instances where the work packages in the integrated master schedule physical percent complete does not match work package percent complete in the project cost management tool.
- Produce a variety of electronic deliverables. MaxTeam can produce the current IPMR UN/CEFACT XML deliverables for the EVM CR as well the JSON encoded deliverables required for IPMR Revision B (the new IPMDAR DID published March, 2020). For any on demand data exports for DCMA, you can produce a variety of pivot tables and Excel extracts from the source data. Because the work authorization and baseline change request documentation are part of the MaxTeam database, you can easily produce artifacts DCMA may request from you.
- Produce standard or user defined data validation reports to match project unique requirements. You may want to focus on different data quality and performance metrics depending on the type of work or project priorities.
- Capture the actual cost source data as BOE data for the next proposal. That means you continually enhance and improve the quantifiable backup data you use for proposal cost estimates and the PMB once you win the contract.
Call us today to schedule a demo today to see how the BOEMax and MaxTeam workflow and data integration features can make is easy to prevent and resolve common disconnects and data quality issues regardless if you are subject to DCMA surveillance or not.
Content updated June 2020.